HelloFresh workers allege the popular meal kit delivery company has retaliated against them for their recent unionization campaigning in a report by The Guardian published Thursday, which comes amid coverage of unsafe and “brutal” working conditions on the company’s assembly lines.
The allegations include a worker from HelloFresh’s Richmond, California, location who told The Guardian that security guards tried to take her employee badge for distributing pro-union leaflets outside during her lunch break.
Two other workers said they were also told by managers they weren’t allowed to share union leaflets outside during their lunch break.
One of them told The Guardian he was later demoted because he was told he did not speak English well enough, but said he believed it was “camouflage” because he had been exercising his organizing rights.
In recent months Vice News reported that HelloFresh workers in Colorado and California have been organizing, and the Unite Here union has filed a number of unfair labor practice charges with the National Labor Relations Board against the company.
“One day I was running the production line, and my team lead was yelling at me, telling me to do so many things at once I couldn’t do and while yelling at me called me ‘a Mexican shit,” Evelin Escobar, a production worker at the Richmond plant, told The Guardian.
“We take these allegations very seriously, and all such complaints are vigorously investigated and addressed,” a HelloFresh spokesperson shared in a statement to Forbes. “HelloFresh believes that the decision of whether or not to be represented by a union is an important one and we respect each employee’s right to choose or refuse union membership … To promote further education and create an open dialogue, we’re holding in-person meetings, so that employees can be fully informed and make the best decisions for themselves and their families.”
The pro-labor site More Perfect Union tweeted Monday that HelloFresh “filed a takedown notice” for a video alleging the company’s union-busting efforts which had it “wrongfully removed from Twitter.” A HelloFresh spokesperson said that the request for removal was “due to a blatant copyright violation of HelloFresh content” that has since been remedied in the new version, but that “the video includes misinformation and mischaracterizations about the HelloFresh employee experience.”
62%. That’s the revenue growth the company reported last week it could expect this year, ahead of previous estimates.
HelloFresh has paid anti-union firm Kulture Consulting thousands of dollars for its work at the California and Colorado facilities. The developments come amid an increase in union efforts that have swept the country, including at major companies such as Amazon, Starbucks, Dollar General and beyond.
What To Watch For
Union votes at HelloFresh’s California and Colorado locations are scheduled for later this month, according to The Guardian.
“Strikes are sweeping the labor market as workers wield new leverage” (Washington Post)